Most people realize the importance of a pre-exercise meal but the post-exercise meal is just as important. Eating a good meal beforehand ensures that adequate glycogen stores are available for the best performance possible but the post exercise meal is very important for recovery and will improve consistancy and endurance when exercising.
Carbohydrates are very important to a good workout or endurance training. For endurance training, including sports and high intensity cardio work, it is recommended to consume at least 100- 200 grams of carbohydrates within 2 hours of training. Good carbs can come from fruit or whole grain goods. Carbohydrates help stimulate insulin and produce greater muscle glycogen to stores.
Protein is most important after exercise. The amino acids help rebuild muscle tissue which is broken down during exercise. Protein also increases the water absorption from the intestines to help improve muscle hydration. Also, research has shown that combining it with carbohydrates can almost double the insulin response which will result in more glycogen stores in the muscles. A ratio of 4 carbs for every 1 gram of protein is the optimal combination for a good post-exercise meal.
After training, it is recommended to drink at least 20-24fl oz of water for every pound lost after an intense workout. Everyone’s fluid intake varies, but one should generally consume half of one’s body weight, in ounces of water, to stay hydrated while training several days per week. (for example, a 160 lb. individual should intake 80 ounces of water daily.)